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2019 Community Prospect Projections: Edmundo Sosa

His bat is a question mark, but his defense is not.

St Louis Cardinals Photo Day Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Signed out of the Dominican Republic, Edmundo Sosa has methodically and slowly made his way through the Cardinals system. He signed with the Cardinals in 2012 and played his first season in their system in 2013. Luckily, he signed when he was 16-years-old, thus a slow, methodical rise through the system allowed him to reach the majors at 22-years-old.

As a 17-year-old, Sosa quickly separated himself from his teammates in the DSL by walking more than he struck out and hitting his way to a 150 wRC+ with just a .325 BABIP. He moved to the United States the next season and had a solid, unspectacular debut in the GCL with a 109 wRC+. He continued his rise the next season at Johnson City where had a genuinely great year with the bat, displaying the most power he’s ever shown to date, with a 137 wRC+ in just 49 games.

That was pretty much the end of his offensive excitement in the minors. Consistently young for his level, he pretty consistently hit at a slightly below average level, doing just enough to earn another promotion after the year was over. In his first full season in Peoria, he was below average with just about nothing exciting in his hitting profile with a low BB rate, no power at all, and an average K rate. In the offensive black hole that is Palm Beach, he improved his numbers - relative to the league at least. He walked a little more, struck out a little less, and had only a little less power to drive him to a... 98 wRC+.

At 22 last year, he began the season in Springfield and while the superficial numbers changed - mostly on the power side - he ended up with a 99 wRC+. He got promoted to Memphis midseason and posted a 88 wRC+. But there are positives. While he didn’t walk much at all in Springfield (3.2 BB%), he did improve his BB rate in Memphis (6.2%). His strikeout rate rose only a little and his power remained constant.

You may be wondering why he’s a prospect at all. His offense is certainly not why. He’s a prospect for three reasons. He’s a shortstop and he’s good defensively - he’s pretty much the only option behind Paul DeJong who can actually play shortstop and not just stand there. (Sorry Yairo). And he’s young. Young guys with underwhelming minor league numbers aren’t the most exciting prospects, but this guy’s floor is essentially utility player. If he develops any offense at all, he could theoretically be a starter. Probably not on the Cardinals, but a starter in the value sense, which makes quite a valuable bench player or trade piece.

For whatever it’s worth, Sosa did implement a swing change prior to the 2018 season and while the overall numbers didn’t really improve, he did end up getting promoted more aggressively than in his past. Plus, his power gains were real. He had a .062 ISO in Palm Beach and a .068 ISO in Peoria. In Springfield, he raised his ISO to .153 and at Memphis .147. Now, of course, both Memphis and Springfield feature much more favorable power environments than either of the previous stops, but not necessarily to the extent that he improved.

Maybe he’ll take a step forward offensively in 2019. He probably has no hope at ever being a good major league hitter, but if he can get close to an average hitter, he’ll be a pretty good player with his defense. He is currently projected for a 69 wRC+ by Steamer and 66 OPS+ by ZiPS so he has a long way to go, but he certainly has time.